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Spending Charts   also: Revenue Charts  Debt Charts  Deficit Charts  

 

This page shows the current trends in US local spending. Also see charts on US local spending history. See also: Social Security Spending and Medicare Spending
 

Recent and Estimated* US Local Spending

Chart S.01l: Local Spending in trillions

Chart S.02l: Local Spending in percent GDP

The two charts show above show recent and "guesstimated" direct spending for local governments in the United States. On the left is a chart of spending in current dollars. On the right is a chart of spending as a percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

US Local Government Spending Since 1900

Chart S.03l: Local Government Spending

Local government began the 20th century as the largest sector of government, spending 4 percent of GDP. It continued this growth in the next three decades, reaching 8 percent of GDP in 1940. World War II cut a big hole in local government budgets and local spending did not exceed 8 percent of GDP again until the 1960s. Since the 1960s local government spending has steadily increased, reaching almost 11 percent of GDP in the 2010s.

Federal, State, Local Spending in 20th Century

Chart S.04t: Federal State and Local Spending
in 20th Century


At the start of the 20th century, government spending was principally local government spending. Out of a total of 7 percent of GDP, a full 4 percent was spent at the local level. Federal spending spiked in World War I, but in the 1920s, local government still represented about half of all government spending. In the 1930s this changed, and federal spending surged to about half of all government spending. After the spike of World War II the federal share increased again and state government spending also began to increase as a percent of GDP, so that by the 2010s federal spending checked in at over 20 percent of GDP, state spending amounted to 8 to 9 percent of GDP and local spending exceeded 10 percent of GDP.

State-by-State Comparison of State and Local Spending

Chart S.05c: State and Local Spending Comparison


The bubble chart shows total state and local spending for each state in dollars per capita compared against the Gross State Product (GSP) in dollars per capita. The chart shows that the overwhelming number of states show a correlation between state and local spending and GSP. Notable outliers are Texas, on the low spending side and New York, Vermont, and Alaska, on the high spending side.

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Spending Data Sources

Spending data is from official government sources.
  Federal data since 1962 comes from the president’s budget.
  All other spending data comes from the US Census Bureau.

Gross Domestic Product data comes from US Bureau of Economic Analysis and measuringworth.com.

Detailed table of spending data sources here.

Federal spending data begins in 1792.

State and local spending data begins in 1890.

State and local spending data for individual states begins in 1957.

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Next Data Update

> State GDP CY14

> data update schedule.

Data Sources for 2010_2020:

Sources for 2010:

GDP, GO: GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances
'Guesstimated' by projecting the latest change in reported spending forward to future years

Sources for 2020:

GDP, GO: GDP, GO Sources
Federal: Fed. Budget: Hist. Tables 3.2, 5.1, 7.1
State and Local: State and Local Gov. Finances
'Guesstimated' by projecting the latest change in reported spending forward to future years

> data sources for other years
> data update schedule.

US Gross Output for 2014 Updated

On April 28, 2015, usgovernmentspending.com updated its Gross Output series with the latest data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, including nominal Gross Output for calendar 2014 of $31.001 trillion. Gross Output for some years previous to 2014 have been revised by BEA.

usgovernmentspending.com now reports Gross Output on its Spending Details page and permits charting of spending and revenue as "percent of Gross Output".

We have extended the Gross Output data series back to 1987.

Spend links

us numbersus budgetcustom chartdeficit/gdpspend/gdpdebt/gdpus gdpus real gdpstate gdpbreakdownfederalstatelocal200920102011californiatexas

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